Lakshmi K Tummala
As Shankar Jaikishan fans, we have all heard and read a lot about their knowledge and talent in music, their name and fame, their fundraising for great causes, from all sources available. But, very seldom do we hear about their inner character that defines the great human beings they were.
Many South Indian movie makers had the utmost admiration and respect for SJ who composed for their movies with huge success. Every one of them commended upon their professionalism and work ethics. Once SJ signed a contract, the producer could be rest assured that the work will get done on time and will meet with expectations beyond his imagination.
It is true that they commanded a very high remuneration for their work, but they never demanded it. It was the producer, who was desperate to have them sign for him, that hiked their fee. With SJ in his project, it was a breeze for the producer to have the lead actor and actress get on board. The high fee received for their work was shared generously with their musicians. There were times when a producer would sign SJ with a deposit and, later, meet with financial difficulties. Being very considerate of the situation, SJ would still complete their work and wait patiently to be paid whenever the producer was able to.
In a span of 38 years, from Barsaat to Gori, Shankar Jaikishan scored music for 185 movies. They worked with 67 lyricists, 46 male singers and 45 female singers. Throughout their career, SJ introduced several musicians, singers and lyricists to the music industry. It was through their encouragement that their assistant, Dattaram, turned into a full-fledged composer. With their hands full, they had also encouraged producers to sign Kalyanji-Anandji and R.D. Burman for their movies.
The composer duo maintained a great camaraderie with their peers and always had a good word for their work. Many a time, SJ would call up a fellow composer to congratulate on his/her work which you seldom see in the industry. Even after Jaikishan’s demise, when things were going against him, Shankar never uttered a word against the “defectors” and “backstabbers.”
The above mentioned virtues of Shankar Jaikishan are what made them superior to their peers, not only in their work but also in their character. Their policy was to, “Live and Let Live.” They will always be remembered for their benevolence.